Path of Exile is still one of the best Action RPGs in production, and with the constant updates, continual balance, content changes, and incredible improvements it’s still on my go-to list of games to play both on my powerful Desktop in my office, and on my Playstation 4 Pro that I have setup in my bedroom to play at night when my wife wants to chill out in bed.
However, since my accounts are not connected, I have to play different characters on both systems. And that may be a good thing, as the game plays a bit differently on console than it does on PC. Let’s get into the differences, and maybe some of the builds that work better on console because of those changes.
How does PoE work with a controller?
If you have played PoE on PC, you are aware of how the mechanics work with a keyboard and mouse. You can aim your mouse and click on the ground to cast spells, make attacks and open objectives.
With a controller, you use the directional pad to aim your skills and they are directed to the closest enemy, or the edge of the screen (in the case of ranged attacks and spells). This can be frustrating for the PC player coming from a mouse and keyboard where you have complete control over where you cast your spells. Instead of that kind of granular control, you get a semi-automated control that often aims for you.
This can be especially difficult if you are playing a build that relies on two skills to hit a target at the same time, or one after another. It means the first skill will land wherever you are pointing, but by the time you fire the second skill off, targets have moved, or you have moved, which throws off your aim and reliability somewhat.
When it comes to performance, the consoles will be more consistent with their performance due to the lack of variation in the hardware along similar generation of consoles.
However, is you are on PC, the hardware available obviously varies substantially. If you are using an older PC, or haven’t invested a lot into the CPU or GPU, then yes, you may have much worse performance than a PS4 Pro,or PS5, which has excellent hardware for the money.
If however, you are not on a budget PC, and you have a relatively newer or better performance machine, then there will be no comparison, and PoE will work much smoother, faster and reliably than on console. This is for obvious reasons.
Along with raw performance, many have noted that the console versions tend to have more stutter, and have experienced many more blue-screens than their PC counterparts. This is likely something to do with updates, and consoles getting secondary treatment to PC potentially, and it seems like complaints of these types get resolved quickly after an update.
Okay, this may be the Elephant in the room for many of you who have played on console and PC. The trade system is so much more limited in the console versions, it’s almost a deal-breaker for me.
Outside of Solo-self-found nuts out there (God bless you, I can’t play SSF and stay sane), trading in this game is really what makes the game interesting, open up and become alive with options available to you.
When you are looking to tweak your build, and you need to find that unique armor, or special weapon with the correct stats and links on them, trading is by FAR the most effective method of getting those items. Even RMT trading aside, gathering enough currency in the game and buying the things you need is almost always faster than grinding the gear by yourself. This is simply because the sheer number of builds, the intense number of items and the combinations of both are so astronomical, that unless you are chasing the tip of the meta spear, likely someone will have an item you need for sale that they picked up randomly, or no longer need.
It’s true, the console systems do have trading, and a trading post has been established, however finding exactly what you want is tedious, and is more often than not a huge pain in the butt, whereas trading on PC is as easy as going to poe.trade and filtering for exactly what you need, and whispering the player who is online with it in their inventory. The whole process usually takes a few minutes per item, which is far faster than filtering slowly through pages and pages of items on the console trying to find what you want. And that’s with the filters ON.
Well, I don’t think this is much of a surprise to anyone, but the PC is in almost every respect better for us Exiles. The game is smoother on decent hardware, les prone to crashes when new patches are applied, and the trading system is so much less cumbersome. In every measurable sense, it is better.
However, I still think that the console version is amazing, and it is very fun to play a little more casually than the PC version, especially if you are using a lazy build that in’t too heavily reliant on precise cursor position and skill shots.
I played a necromancer zombie build on PS4 Pro first, and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in bed next to my wife and having a good time. It wasn’t the same thrill as playing with my computer, but it was far from a bad experience.